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Coach hails Australia’s quality play

14 January 2015

FOOTBALL: Australia’s impressive displays in their opening pair of AFC Asian Cup victories are a reflection of the football being played by the Socceroos rather than the quality of the opponents, believes coach Ange Postecoglou.

The tournament hosts handed Oman a 4-0 defeat just four days after kicking off the competition with a 4-1 thrashing of Kuwait in Melbourne to secure their place in the quarter-finals of the continental championship.

Matt McKay, Robbie Kruse, Mark Milligan and Tomi Juric were all on target for the Australians at Stadium Australia, leaving the Socceroos needing only a draw in their final Group A game against Korea Republic in Brisbane on Saturday to secure first place.

“People might think these are easy games, but I don’t see them as easy games,” said the former Brisbane Roar coach. “The way we play makes it very hard for the opposition.

“We made it very hard for Oman tonight. Any time they had the ball, our defensive work was outstanding, any time we had the ball we were able to move it around very quickly.

“I don’t think it’s a reflection on them as teams. Oman could very easily have scored, and Kuwait pushed Korea today. We don’t underestimate anyone. We respect everybody. Our responsibility is to keep improving and keep playing the way we are playing.”

Bayer Leverkusen winger Kruse was named the Samsung Man of the Match after an impressive performance that not only saw him claim Australia’s second goal, but also deliver the corner that ultimately led to McKay scoring the opener in the 27th minute.

“It was a fantastic performance, we did well from the first minute to the last,” said Kruse.

“We came into the tournament from the first game wanting to qualify for the next round and we’ve done that. We now recover and we look forward to recovering and we try to top the group.

“The performance was excellent, we played some great football and should have had some more goals, but it was a great performance.”

Postecoglou hailed his team, not just for picking up the three points but also for the manner in which they achieved the win.

“I’m very pleased, I thought the players were fantastic tonight, they worked really, really hard and were committed but also the quality of the football was outstanding from the first minute against a tough opponent,” he said.

“We knew this was going to be a tough game for us. We took command fairly early and that’s a tribute to the players.”

Michael Church
Asian Cup 2015

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